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“An abuser wants you to feel alone. But this is not the reality.”

Today, Thursday 29 December, marks one year on from the introduction of coercive control laws.

This law makes it illegal for someone to exercise coercive control over their partner. Under this law police are able to take action against those who are emotionally abusive to their partner or family members. If found guilty, offenders could face up to five years in prison, a fine or both.

What is coercive and controlling behaviour?

Coercive and controlling behaviour can include the abuser isolating the victim from family and friends, limiting their partner’s access to finances, routinely putting their partner down, public disclosure of intimate details to humiliate their partner, controlling who their partner sees, where they go and what they wear and monitoring how their partner spends their time, including their online activity.

Ayesha Fordham, the Vulnerable Victims Advocate is based within the City of London Police Public Protection Unit, provides a non-judgmental, confidential and independent service. She offers victims both emotional and practical support.

Ayesha said: “Emotional abuse often becomes a part of a victim’s everyday routine, which can make this abusive behaviour hard for them to recognise. Abusers can develop and increase their levels of control over a long period of time. It often begins in subtle ways, comments about your appearance for example or questioning visits with friends or to the shops. Victims can get to a point where they question everything they do, wear and say. A controlling partner may limit the time a victim spends with friends or may monitor their online activity. An abusive partner may also exercise financial control over a victim. This is no way for anyone to live and this law recognises the damaging effect such behaviour can have.

“Abuse can take many forms but the element of control is ever present. An abuser wants you to feel alone, they want you to feel like you have no-one to turn to, that you won’t be listened to. But this is not the reality. Officers from the City of London Police and myself are here to listen and provide the support that you need; you won’t be alone.”

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